THAT is the prediction of a true die-hard Eagles fan who was alive the last time they were NFL Champions in 1960.
On the 10th of July, I was down at the bar celebrating that bastard’s 58th birthday, because he’s also been a friend of mine since 2009. His name is P.W. Rhodes, but everyone calls him Rhodie. Some of you know who I’m talking about, so you know you’ll get a kick out of this one.
When he said we’d be lucky to win 7, I asked him if he thought we’d be hit hard by injuries or something. He gave me his ‘You’re kidding, right?’ look, wiped his tongue on his napkin and raised his glass to Heaven. “From my lips to your ears!”
By this point I’d gotten out my tape recorder, because that ritual of his always means he’s breaking out the soap box, and that the bar was again, in danger of learning something. You know up til now, I’ve written over 100 articles on this site, and never before have I written a single, solitary word about a man I love like an uncle. So this article is as much about my friend Rhodie, as it is about the Eagles.
He finished his glass of Wild Turkey and off he went:
“Here’s the thing. You can’t win a football division without defense. You can win in baseball with just offense. You can be competitive in basketball with just a good offense. But if you don’t play good defense in football you’re dead in the water. Hockey too.”
“After we won in ’60, none of our teams could stop anybody. We used to chant “We’ll settle for slowin’ ‘em down! We’ll settle for slowin’ ‘em down!” Didn’t matter who bought the team or who they fired, the turd never lost it’s stink. We burned in hell for 16 years and then Vermeil gets here− Wait. Let me say this. At least under Kuharich we could score points. And that’s my point.” (Orders another drink) “The guy we got now has an offense but the defense has no tough guys on it. You can’t win like that. You need tough guys, and not just one either. This guy Kelly is like Kuharick.”
“Here’s the thing. We got fed dirt on defense last year and what did we do to change the feel of the defense? What did we do? Huh? Nothin’! We did nothin’! Those kids think what they did last year is fine because they all come back and will all start!”
At that point he said something that I have to admit kicked my enthusiasm for 2014 square in the balls.
“People expect them to be better because they played the same system last year. Here’s the thing, the Redskins kept the same system for the last few years. Did they improve? Did Pittsburgh? Did the Jaguars? All failing last year and getting to start this year teaches you is that you got away with failing. That’s the opposite of how you build a winner. Trust me. The only time I spent away from the Eagles was Vietnam, so I seen all their ups and downs.”
He and I fundamentally disagree about the Defense, since I think a year should help and I wrote as much. It wasn’t a year sucking in system they already knew. It was a year sucking in something they were learning on the fly.
But he does bring up a hell of a point. Shouldn’t there have been at least a minor tremor? We were out-toughed in a nationally televised playoff game, and so far it’s all copacetic.
The Defensive Line that was man-handled will all return as starters. Our un-clutch Kicker isn’t even being seriously challenged by management to improve; and no move has been made at bringing in an obvious upgrade. then there’s the over-matched O-line that had trouble getting the kind of clear rushing holes for our RB, that New Orleans seemed to find all night long for theirs. Aside from a possible suspension for PED’s none of that has even the potential for changing this year.
“Unlike last year the NFC East ain’t just gonna lay down roll over and play dead for us again and we don’t have the talent to dominate on defense. It’s gonna be the 1960’s out there all over again. You watch.”
I don’t agree with Rhodie’s assessment, but arguing with someone who’s been there and done that, only makes you look like a complete dope if you bust your nose because you ignored their warning. Normally I do a prediction article every year after the pre-season, but this year I may just hold off on that.
How long have the Patriots succeeded in the same system? The kicker is going to be a problem but there isn’t as many obvious replacements. The defense won’t necessarily have the same shmucks out there. We aren’t exactly the Super Bowl favorites and Chip doesn’t exactly have all the players a coach who has been here for longer than two years would have. Aside from Reid’s last draft, his drafts were a complete waste of time which is the reason the defense is where it’s at, and if Foles wasn’t showing signs of being real good, this team would be waaaay behind, so far behind they would’ve took Manziel and if he doesn’t do good this year we will be looking up from further down for a few years til they can draft one and then there is breaking him in and maybe by that time, the defense will have the pieces of several drafts.
Chris, I think you’re arguing with the wrong guy. LOL.
I do have to say that K Rob Bironas is still unemployed and would be an improvement in FG range, Kickoff distance, and number of fair catches. If he wasn’t 37, I think teams would be all over him.
The saints had clear running lanes cuz Davis thought we should play the whole damn game in a dime package cuz he was afraid of the air attack. Our offense did awesome making holes for shady, the leagues leading rusher may I add,… Our defense wasn’t great last year but they were good, held opposing offenses to 21 points or less over a 9 game stretch. Now we have upgraded a bit and also installed a few new ideas on both sides of the ball to keep the rest of the league honest. I believe we go 11-5 or 10-6 this year and I believe this dude is high off his ass if he believes we will regress, I got two names that won’t let that happen they are Lesean McCoy and Nick Foles,… And you can quote me on this
I think you just made Rhodies point. He said we don’t have any tough guys and you just said that the DC (the Defense’s leader) “was afraid”.
And that’s just you and Rhodie talking.
Now I’ll chime in and say that playing a WHOLE GAME in something that isn’t working without making an adjustment goes to what I said in the first article om this site WANT A SUPER BOWL? THEN FIRE BILL DAVIS.
I don’t think we’ll finish 7-9 or worse, but I’m too smart AND experienced to simply dismiss the only guy to seriously predict the Eagles winning 10 games last year.
I’m saying 12-4 and we get to the second round of the playoffs.
I see no real challenge to the Eagles in this division. Every team in the division alone has a worse defense than the Eagles and none of them have a better offense. I see at least 10 wins this coming year.
I’m going to hold out on a prediction right now. I don’t feel any “Mortal Locks” coming on.
I don’t feel any locks either, but I like Kelly’s obsession for preparation, his ability to adjust both in game and during the season, and his drive. He wasn’t happy with last year and he has his guys buying in. The Cryboys are a mess with their coaching staff, the Giants coaches could be entering a lame duck status, and nobody knows how good the new Gruden will be in Washington. If nothing else I like our chances in this division.
On a side note I’m not surprised some old guy predicts doom and gloom for the Eagles. For years I went back and forth with my dad over McNabb. Old people tend to see the glass half empty.
With as much as the NFL has changed from what it was when they were raised on it I’m hardly surprised. At it’s heart it’s a violent game, that leaves permanent damage behind. It can and has crippled and killed.
It’s dangerous by the very nature of the way it was designed to be played. (Which is why when people say that grown men are being paid to play a children’s game, I immediately know they’re idiots.)
Watching executives continue to try and legislate the violence out of it; and watching players who glorified in using their bodies as battering rams, now sue over suffering the fallout from it; is enough to make you question the integrity and future of the game.
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